Slow Planning Travel For 2019
When we entered 2018, a lot of our travel plans for 2018 were locked down. But for 2019, we started the year with virtually no firm travel booked. We were a bit exhausted when we realized we travelled for about 6 months in 2018. And needed a little time to plan. Many have asked what this year would look like. And we are excited to finally share a better idea of our travel destinations for 2019.
Travel every year always has a lot of travel to warmer climates. We do need to escape Toronto winters. This year we finally found availability on some of our top priority cruises. It has been a few years since we did a road trip. And far too long since we visited California and spent time in British Columbia. When we thought about fall travel, we thought it would be great to finish off some places in Italy we have never visited. Or spent some time being lazy in the Greek Islands.
Not everything is fully booked or paid for. But this is a look at what our travel destinations for 2019 look like! We would welcome any input you have as we start to do the detailed travel planning for the trips.
Changing How We Are Travelling In 2019
When we have travelled in the past few years, we often did two really long trips (6-10 weeks). And then sprinkled in other trips. We often chose to fly Business Class for longer trips. And I sort of justified it by amortizing the airfare over the longer number of days we were away.
But the long trips were exhausting. We lost a bit of the “wow” effect for destinations at the end of the trips. So in 2019, we planned to do more trips. But shorter durations. Although this does seem to mean much more travel planning work.
We will provide an update at the end of the year. And see how this new approach worked for our travel destinations for 2019.
Road Trip In California
We returned from our holiday cruise around Cuba for New Years. And immediately started to think about heading back to warmer climates. Traditionally, we headed to the Caribbean islands for really hot temperatures. In some years, we even choose more exotic hot spots like Australia, South Africa or the Maldives.
But this year, we wondered about travelling to more temperate climates. With temperatures well below freezing in Toronto, even 10-20℃ (50-68℉) wohttps://retiredandtravelling.com/head-south-to-the-algarve/uld be much better. And it would get us outside instead of hibernating. We assessed two different options. A return to the Algarve in the south of Portugal was very tempting. But we finally decided to do a road trip in California.
We realized it had been almost 5 years since our last visit to California. So we planned a three week trip from San Diego to San Francisco. There were many great destinations. But we set a gruelling pace changing locations and hotels every 3 days. It was definitely a great way to start our travel destinations for 2019.
Heading South To Warm Up And Relax
The road trip in California was a great way to escape the cold. But it would not really recharge the heat batteries. Since I have a big “milestone birthday” coming up this year, we wanted to do something a little decadent. Our points and status strategy for 2018 worked so well that we finished the year with a lot of Marriott Bonvoy loyalty points. The plan was to save it for a special vacation.
There were several resort destinations that we considered. We visited Grand Cayman as a cruise port several times. The blue waters are always a great draw. And we know there is awesome scuba diving.
When we saw the great pictures that Nicki from EatLiveTravelDrink posted, we looked at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman. We booked a two week vacation all on points. And when we saw Nicki’s blog post on her experience, we knew we made the right choice.
A luxury stay for two weeks will certainly be a good way to end the winter. And one of our favourite travel destinations for 2019.
British Columbia (BC) For The Spring
There were so many different ideas about where we would go in the spring. We finally decided to spend 5 weeks in British Columbia (BC). We enjoyed an extended stay in Vancouver a few years ago in the fall. This time we are heading further afield from Vancouver.
We are booked to fly into Kelowna in the beautiful Okanagan Valley in early May. We have never spent time in this area so we will spend a week exploring. From there we will move to the Fraser Valley. Both of these are great wine growing regions.
Some time will be spent visiting our children in Vancouver before we travel to Vancouver Island. While David lived on the island several different times, we have never really vacationed on Vancouver Island together. We will start in Victoria. And then head north to Nanaimo and Comox. Maybe even head out to the far west coast and stay in Tofino. We have made that visit before.
We will enjoy spring in BC. But we are also starting to think about where we might live if we move from Toronto. BC is a good option for us. So our travel destinations for 2019 will include a second trip to the west coast as a bit of a scouting vacation.
The North Atlantic: Norway Fjords, Iceland, Greenland and More
On our cruise to Cuba with Oceania Cruises, we looked at the other cruises we were interested in. There were several on our wish list. There was a good discount for booking on-board, reduced deposits and some flexibility with the bookings.
The cruise schedule was printed on one large page when we were onboard. So it was easy to see all the cruises in a region. And then we noticed an unusual cruise combination.
There was a cruise that took us on the outside of Norway along the fjords. It started in Oslo and finished in London. And then we saw that we could change Oceania cruise ships in London. And head up to the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland and back through Ireland to London. It was for the summer of 2019. But could we get cabins we were happy with on two different ships?
We worked with the booking agent. And were excited to find that we could indeed have good cabins on both cruises. We even got a back-to-back credit for the cruises! So we are headed to Northern Europe for 5 weeks in the summer.
We normally do not travel to Europe in the summer because of the crowds. But this is the perfect time for this northern itinerary. However, airfare will be at a premium. We are watching the flights and hope for a sale before we hit the critical date to book flights.
We plan to return to Oslo about 5 days before the first cruise. And stay in London a few days after the second cruise is finished. Excited to start that planning. And to look at excursions for our cruises. This was certainly one of the exciting things on our travel destinations for 2019.
Back To Europe In The Fall
We normally travel in shoulder season to Europe (May/June or Oct/Nov). Even though we will be in northern Europe in the summer, we are hoping for a 4 week trip to Europe in the fall.
It has been too long since we were last in Italy. Our 10 week tour of the Adriatic Coast is a blur. And even our visits to the Amalfi Coast have faded. It was time to head back to Italy. We want to visit the Italian Island of Sicily. And maybe add in Sardinia or Malta once we start travel planning.
The other European trip ideas are either a return to Portugal or a trip in the Greek Islands. We enjoyed our visit to Portugal and travelled around the Azores. And definitely would love to return. But have also wanted to return to the Greek Islands. So many great choices for European destinations.
Several trips to Europe this year would certainly round out our travel destinations for 2019. But the planning for it all seems a bit daunting.
We Even Have South America Booked For 2020
While we were a bit slow in planning our travel destinations for 2019, we already have a head start for 2020 travels.
When we were booking trips with Oceania Cruises, we checked on a long trip we have been looking at for years. When we tried to book it for 2019 late in 2018, we could only get really crappy cabins. But booking for 2020, we got lucky. We found exactly the cabins we wanted. And will cruise from Miami to Lima, Peru. This is three back-to-back cruises for over 50 days.
Yes, it does put us back on a long trip. Especially since we want to add time in Peru to visit the Galapagos Islands. It is still undecided whether we will also visit Machu Picchu while we are there. But that will be planning work for later in 2019. The other exciting thing about booking these additional trips is that we finally will reach a valuable loyalty tier with Oceania Cruises. At Gold status, we get a free two week cruise. Who knows where that will take us?
The other thing on our travel wish list for 2020 is to sail in the inaugural year on the Ritz-Carlton Yacht. We will be in South America when the yacht does its opening season in the Caribbean. But we are looking at a few Mediterranean options of interest. Everyone will know once we get that booked!
Our travel destinations for 2019 are exciting. But we are happy that 2020 is also stacking up to be an amazing travel year.
Excited About Our Travel Destinations For 2019
We have finally made a good start at planning our travel destinations for 2019. Many of the trips are booked. While others still need to be firmed up. In addition to these bigger trips, we are sure to add other smaller jaunts. We will want to head south to the Bahamas to stay with my best friend. Local trips from Toronto always fill the summer weeks. And long weekend trips to great cities always break up the time when we are home for longer periods.
Check back on the blog as we start to post about our travel destinations for 2019. It will be yet another great year.
What do you think about our travel destinations for 2019? Do you suggestions for our tour of the Italian islands? Any thoughts on our second trip back to Europe?
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